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Congress Passes the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, New Jersey

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, New Jersey

The federal judge who lost her only child when a gunman opened fire at her home and the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) expressed gratitude today for the passage by Congress of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act.

New Jersey District Judge Esther Salas said, “I want to thank Congress for honoring my son Daniel’s memory, and for helping protect my brothers and sisters on the bench.

“Judges, and their families, should not live in fear for doing the job they are sworn to do. As a nation and as a people, we cannot accept this. This legislation will make it harder for violent individuals to find judges’ addresses and other personal information online. By better protecting judges, the bill also helps safeguard the judicial independence guaranteed by the Constitution.”

On behalf of the federal Judiciary, Judge Roslynn Mauskopf, the AO Director, also expressed her appreciation. In a statement today, she said, “We are grateful to Congress for taking this important step to protect federal judges and their families. Our democracy depends on judges who are free to make decisions without fear of reprisal or retribution.

“No other judge should go through the horrific experience that Judge Salas had – witnessing her son’s murder and the critical wounding of her husband at the family home by a gunman who located her personally identifiable information on the internet. This legislation recognizes the unique position judges occupy and will help protect them and their family where they are most vulnerable, at home.”

The bill was strongly endorsed by the Judicial Conference of the United States, the national policy-making body for the federal courts. It cleared the final hurdle in Congress on Thursday when the Senate voted 83-11 to pass the annual defense authorization bill with the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act attached. President Biden is expected to sign the bill.

Daniel Anderl was fatally shot in July 2020 and Salas’s husband Mark Anderl was critically wounded when a former litigant came to the family’s door posing as a deliveryman. The gunman found the judge’s personal information on the internet. Daniel, a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., had just turned 20.

The bill, which had broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, will protect judges’ personally identifiable information from resale by data brokers. It also will allow federal judges to redact personal information displayed on federal government internet sites and prevent publication of personal information by other businesses and individuals where there is no legitimate news media or other public interest.

Related Topics: Legislation